Sandusky Speaks, Denies Charges Of Sexual Abuse - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Sandusky Speaks, Denies Charges Of Sexual Abuse

MSNBC.COM - The former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, in his first extended interview since his indictment on sexual abuse charges last month, said Coach Joe Paterno never spoke to him about any suspected misconduct with minors. Mr. Sandusky also said the charity he worked for never restricted his access to children until he became the subject of a criminal investigation in 2008.

The failure by Mr. Paterno to act more aggressively after being told in 2002 that Mr. Sandusky had molested a 10-year-old boy in the showers of the university's football building played a role in Mr. Paterno's firing last month after 62 years at Penn State. Mr. Sandusky, in the interview, said that Mr. Paterno did not speak to him or confront him over the accusation, despite the fact that Mr. Sandusky had been one of his assistant coaches for three decades and was a regular presence at the football team's complex for years after the 2002 episode.

Mr. Sandusky, in a nearly four-hour interview over two days this week, insisted he had never sexually abused any child, but he confirmed details of some of the events that prosecutors have cited in charging him with 40 counts of molesting young boys, all of whom came to know Mr. Sandusky through the charity he founded, known as the Second Mile.

Mr. Sandusky said he regularly gave money to the disadvantaged boys at his charity, opened bank accounts for them, and gave them gifts that had been donated to the charity.

Prosecutors have said Mr. Sandusky used such gifts as a way to build a sense of trust and loyalty among boys he then repeatedly abused.

Mr. Sandusky, after repeated requests, agreed to the interview because he said his decades of work with children had been misunderstood and distorted by prosecutors.

"They've taken everything that I ever did for any young person and twisted it to say that my motives were sexual or whatever," Mr. Sandusky said. He added: "I had kid after kid after kid who might say I was a father figure. And they just twisted that all."

Lack of boundaries
Yet over the course of the interview, Mr. Sandusky described what he admitted was a family and work life that could often be chaotic, even odd, one that lacked some classic boundaries between adults and children, and thus one that was open to interpretation — by those who have defended him as a generous mentor and those who have condemned him as a serial predator.

He said his household in State College, Pa., over the years came to be a kind of recreation center or second home for dozens of children from the charity, a place where games were played, wrestling matches staged, sleepovers arranged, and from where trips to out-of-town sporting events were launched. Asked directly why he appeared to interact with children who were not his own without many of the typical safeguards other adults might apply — showering with them, sleeping alone with them in hotel rooms, blowing on their stomachs — he essentially said that he saw those children as his own.

"It was, you know, almost an extended family," Mr. Sandusky said of his household's relationship with children from the charity. He then characterized his close experiences with children he took under his wing as "precious times," and said that the physical aspect of the relationships "just happened that way." Click here to read more

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